This month we pay homage to the gorgeous persimmon! This delicious fruit is full of surprises. Shaped like a tomato, but with a sweet honeyed taste, the persimmon is not your run of the mill boring fruit!
So what is a persimmon?
Technically, it is a berry - who knew!?
The persimmons we like to munch on are of the species Diospyros kaki - Diaspyros loosely meaning “divine fruit.” Not a bad nickname for something that resembles an underripe, oversized tomato!
Originally hailing from Asian countries like Japan, China, Korea, Myanmar and Nepal, persimmons are well-known worldwide. Back in 2013, the global production of the fruit was around 4.6 million tonnes, with China producing nearly half!
Here in little old NZ, they grow well, suiting our subtropical climate. The main production areas are beautiful Gisborne and Auckland, but you also will find plenty of orchards dotted throughout the country.
Sweet Or Sour?
There are two main varieties of persimmon available - the Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu is the most commonly found variant in NZ, with their season falling between April and May.
If you are about to sink your teeth into one, it pays to know which kind you are about to enjoy. Take a chunk out of an unripe Hachiya, and you will get a mouthful of bitterness so powerful that it will take hours for your lips to unpucker!
Why are they so different?
It is because the Hachiya is an astringent species, while the Fuyu is non-astringent. Both types of persimmon contain high amounts of tannin (giving them the bitterness), which disappears as the fruit ripens. The Fuyu persimmon loses tannins more quickly, meaning you can happily enjoy it before it is totally ripe.
The Hachiya, on the other hand, needs to be 100% ripe before it is palatable. So wait until they are soft and squishy before digging in!
How can you tell if you are going to get a crisp, sweet mouthful or a tongue-curling surprise? The bitter Hachiyas are usually paler and tend to be heart-shaped, while the sweet Fuyus are more squat-shaped like a tomato.
What’s In A Persimmon?
The best offering from your persimmon is manganese, with one fruit providing about 17 percent of your daily recommended intake. There is also a substantial amount of vitamin C, iron, and vitamin A.
The fibre content is generous too. A persimmon provides twice as much fibre as the equal amount of apple. With high fibre and low calories, this fruit is a great, healthy snack.
The Best Ways To Enjoy Persimmon
You can chow down on a crisp Fuyu just like you would eat an apple. But, because you need to wait until a Hachiya persimmon is soft before it’s good, it is better to chop it in half and slurp or scoop it.
There is a lot more you can do with this versatile fruit than simply sinking your teeth into it. In America, it is a popular inclusion in desserts - most commonly baked into a pie.
Try slicing it into a salad, adding it to your morning smoothie bowl, mixing it into a bread or cake mix, or even roasting it in the oven then smearing it with honey for a delicious, unique, and healthy treat.
We love persimmons here at Twisted Citrus, and we always stock the sweetest and juiciest varieties through our online store. Head on over and check the range in our store now.Shop Now